Ask me anything
by on Thursday, May 28, 2015  (19 comments)

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I did this about a year ago and about 6 months ago. Let's make it a tradition to do this twice a year. Here's your open invitation to ask me anything.

If you want to ask publicly, you can do so in the comments, on Facebook or you can tweet at HillRunner.com (or tweet at my personal account). If you want to ask more privately, you can use the contact form or, if you're friends with me on Facebook or you know my email address, you can reach me through those options.

Within reason, nothing is off limits. Ask about training, racing, my thoughts on any news in the sport. Ask about the site, the coaching service, the new Club HillRunner.com or anything else that's going on.

So, please let me know, what have you been thinking about and wanting to ask?

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19 comments
cesar

Hey Ryan,

How do I get rid of shin splints? I have been battling it for the past 2 weeks, had to take 9 days off taking antiflamatory,improved a lot, ran 30 mins yesterday and I could feel it in the run but could run through it, right now( soon after waking up), I am limping.

Cheers,

César

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Ryan

Cesar,

Shin splints can be caused by many things so there are many possible remedies. The most common I see, though, is strong, inflexible posterior muscles, primary the calf muscles, working against weaker anterior (shin) muscles.

To remedy this, you want to work on calf flexibility and shin strengthening.

Heel drops off a step or curb can be good for stretching the calf muscles. So can sitting in a hurdler's stretch position and using a strap, rope or simply a rolled up towel to wrap around the foot and pull the foot back toward your knee/hip.

Walking on your heels, keeping your forefoot off the ground, can be a good way to strengthen the shin muscles.

I hope this helps. In the meantime, I'll see if I can take some pictures or even a video this weekend to help explain the exercises I mention above.

Ryan

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cesar

Thanks Ryan!! It would be good idea to do this exercises with the pain or those exercises are for preventing shin splints?

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Ed

Hey Ryan, this seems to make sense but what sort of gains do you think one could expect - 1%, 2%?

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/lung-power?cid=socTP_20150529_46607716&adbid=604104927007256576&adbpl=tw&adbpr=14882900

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cesar

Thanks Ryan!! It would be good idea to do this exercises with the pain or those exercises are for preventing shin splints?

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Ed

Hey Ryan, this seems to make sense but what sort of gains do you think one could expect - 1%, 2%?

http://www.runnersworld.com/running-tips/lung-power?cid=socTP_20150529_46607716&adbid=604104927007256576&adbpl=tw&adbpr=14882900

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Ryan

Cesar, you can definitely do the stretching if there's no pain in the back of the legs. As for the strengthening, if there's no pain while doing it, I'd say go for it. If there's pain, wait for that to get better first, then consider the strengthening a preventative step to keep future shin splints away.

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Ryan

Ed, I'd hate to quantify how much one could expect from that. The main thing is, if you're not belly breathing, you're not using your full lung capacity. There's definitely room for improvement if you're not already belly breathing and you can practice it usually without getting in the way of your running. Low cost, some benefit.

I remember back when I was in high school laying on my back in bed and placing books on my stomach. Then, when I'd breathe, I'd try to get the books to move as much as possible. It's a good way to teach you what belly breathing feels like and I'd expect there to be some strength component in doing that if the books are heavy enough.

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Angel (Guest)

HI Ryan, I'm running my 3rd half marathon in a few weeks with hopes of trying a full in the falltime. I average around 18- 22 miles a week. I'm a slow runner and not worried about time as much as just being able to complete a full. I also work full time on my feet all day so id rather not do more mileage then needed. I looked at online marathon training schedules that range from 12-16 weeks. Can you recommend a good online schedule to check out for a not quite beginner runner. Do I need only 3 months or the full 4. Thanks for your help!

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Ryan

Hi Angel,

Depending on your background, 12 weeks can be enough. However, the problem with 12 week plans is that, if you're not coming into it with a solid background in recent training, you're giving yourself only 9 weeks to train for a very grueling distance once you factor in the typical 3 week taper. That's not much time.

I know this is going the opposite direction from what you want but I think Hal Higdon has some good ideas. You can find his marathon plans here. These are 18 week plans but, depending on what you're doing to start, maybe some of the early weeks can be skipped.

Consider thinking of it this way. If you're looking at a 16 or 18 week plan and it has the typical 3 week taper built in, you're really only training for 13 or 15 weeks. Then you're resting up for race day.

I hope this helps. Best wishes on your upcoming half and your fall marathon plans.

Ryan

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cesar

Is paleo diet good for runners? Or you think runners can be healthy eating carbs such as: peanut butter, bread, cheese, pasta, etc?

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Ryan

Cesar, I happen to have written about this about two months ago. While I think there is some legitimate basis for the claims of the paleo diet, I don't think it's the right choice if race performances are your primary focus. You need glycogen to burn. It's the high octane fuel of the human body. Fat simply burns too slowly to be a good fuel for higher intensity running.

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Ed

Hey Ryan,

Might this be a good workout (on the street of course) and when in the training cycle would it fit best?

Broken Mile Workout: Do three to four sets of 1200 + 400 runs. Run 1200 meters (or three laps of the track) at approximately your 10K pace. Jog 200 meters easy for recovery, then run 400 meters at approximately your 5K pace. Take four minutes between sets.

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Ed

Hey Ryan,

Might this be a good workout (on the street of course) and when in the training cycle would it fit best?

Broken Mile Workout: Do three to four sets of 1200 + 400 runs. Run 1200 meters (or three laps of the track) at approximately your 10K pace. Jog 200 meters easy for recovery, then run 400 meters at approximately your 5K pace. Take four minutes between sets.

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Ed

Hey Ryan,

Might this be a good workout (on the street of course) and when in the training cycle would it fit best?

Broken Mile Workout: Do three to four sets of 1200 + 400 runs. Run 1200 meters (or three laps of the track) at approximately your 10K pace. Jog 200 meters easy for recovery, then run 400 meters at approximately your 5K pace. Take four minutes between sets.

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Ryan

Ed, sorry for the late response.

That and other workouts like it can be useful in developing your ability to handle surges and to kick. Personally, I'm not a huge fan of mixed workouts but I think they have their place on occasion. The key is how to fit this workout into a plan. If we look at all the workouts that look good, we could end up with hundreds of workouts. How do you do them all? You don't. We need to pick and choose the most beneficial for our circumstances and figure out how to fit them into the overall training plan.

Be careful about looking at workouts and saying that looks good, I want to do it. It's a dangerous trap that can lead to an erratic training plan with no clear focus or path toward your goals.

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cesar

Mark Hadley says that if you do mixed workouts you dont get the full adaptations of one system, as that workout use multiple systems, you dont develop one system optimally, you develop both systems but not 100%(poorly).

Having said that, in my opinion, you can do workouts like that in the race specific preparation for a race where that teaches you to kick and to finish fast, or teach you to change gears during a race.

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Ed

Thanks Ryan and Cesar, those are very good points. I'll maybe mention workouts here and there like this but that doesn't mean that I want to do them. It just means I wonder if it will work with your plans for me and if you are for it then great - if not - then great as well. I trust your coaching as it has helped me reach new PRs even as I age.

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Ryan

Cesar, I'm a little more on the fence on mixed workouts. However, splitting focus can take your eye off both goals. Having singular focus on one goal can help you stay on track.

Ed, I'm always open to ideas. As I'm sure you've recognized by now, I'm always trying to evolve techniques, trying to find a better way. If you're turning your world upside down every 6 months, that's not going to do any good. At the same time, if you keep standing still, the world is going to pass you by.

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